March 23-29, 2001
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Courtesy of Cornell University
Yoke San L. Reynolds

Vice president for finance named

By Dan Heuchert

Yoke San L. Reynolds, one of Cornell University's top financial officers, has been named U.Va.'s vice president for finance. Reynolds joins the University at the end of May, following an eight-month search to fill the newly created position.

Reynolds will manage U.Va.'s primary financial operations --including human resources; financial administration, such as general accounting and sponsored-programs administration; business operations; business analysis; and risk management. She also will take part in financial compliance efforts, the setting of financial and administrative policies, and institutional planning efforts.

She will report to Leonard W. Sandridge, executive vice president and chief operating officer, and serve on President John T. Casteen III's cabinet with other vice presidents and senior staff members.

"Yoke San's position is a key part of the restructuring plan that the president and Board of Visitors began more than a year ago," Sandridge said. "She will take over several financial and business duties that previously rested directly with me." Reynolds' appointment will allow Sandridge to devote more time to his chief operating officer role, including overseeing the Medical Center and strengthening the University's administrative, financial and support infrastructure.

Reynolds' 16-year background in higher education financial administration includes a decade at Cornell in Ithaca, N.Y. and six years at the State University of New York at Albany, where she rose to assistant vice president for financial management. She began at Cornell as university controller, was promoted to associate vice president and university controller in May 1996, and two years later was named vice president for financial affairs and university controller.

A certified public accountant, Reynolds currently serves on the National Association of College and University Business Officers President's Ad Hoc Committee on the Cost of Education. She also chairs that organization's Accounting Principles Council and its Subcommittee on Managerial Analysis and Decision Support. She has master's degrees in economics from the University of Michigan and in accounting from the business school at SUNY-Albany. She received her undergraduate degree in economics from the University of Singapore and a music diploma from the Royal Conservatory in Toronto.

"Yoke San is highly successful and respected," Sandridge said. "She is recognized for her strong technical skills and as a leader in her field at the national level. She has the professional expertise and personal characteristics to be very successful and effective at U.Va."

At Cornell, Reynolds directed the merger of financial operations for two distinct parts of the university --its four state and six private colleges. Instead of mandating change from the top, she is credited with facilitating discussions between the two financial staffs and encouraging them to find solutions together that worked for both. "Putting people side-by-side helped them see differences that didn't need to be there," she said.

She instituted a program called TOP --"Transforming our Organization and our People" -- that helped manage the merger and create a greater customer-service ethic in the relationship between the financial office and outlying departments. She also implemented new human resources and payroll systems and a related reclassification of jobs.

"She fits well with our organization," Casteen said, "and brings one more element to the new structures necessary for us to operate in the current environment that began with the recession of the early 1990s and reached the public-policy level as the General Assembly and Governors Allen and Gilmore supported ‘decentralization.' Working with Leonard, she can help make the most of the circumstances that now exist, thus benefiting faculty and students as well as the state of Virginia."

Reynolds said she was impressed with the reputation and stability of the University's leadership, including Sandridge and Casteen, and with the University's stature among public universities. She admitted that it won't be easy to leave New York, her home for the past 25 years. "It's always tough to leave friends behind," she said. "But it won't be tough to leave the snow."

Chances are, her husband, Bruce L. Reynolds, will miss the snow even less. An economics professor who specializes in the economies of East and Southeast Asia, in particular China, he regularly makes a 115-mile commute from Ithaca to his office at Union College in Schenectady, NY He will join the U.Va. faculty in August, with joint appointments in the new International Residential College and the McIntire School of Commerce. He holds an undergraduate degree from Yale University and a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Michigan.

The Reynolds have two children, Katherine, a graduate of Harvard University, and Christopher, a graduate of Yale.



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